Best Christmas Markets and Where to Stay

Best Christmas Markets and Where to Stay

Europe's Enchanting Christmas Markets are a wonderful reason to visit Europe off-season, in late November or December. Sip some aromatic mulled wine or cider while taking in beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and market stalls with handcrafted gifts, while delicious aromas of roasted chestnuts, waffles, and local specialties tempt you.

Here are some of the top European Christmas Market destinations, and where to stay:

1. Vienna: Viennese Dream Christmas Market

Dates: November 15 – December 26, 2019

Vienna hosts several beautiful Christmas Markets, but the Viennese Dream Christmas Market right in front of City Hall (Rathaus) is especially magnificent, and especially popular with families. Children have a dedicated area inside City Hall on the ground floor, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles. There's also an ice rink for skating, and you can enjoy listening to holiday carols sung by international choirs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Where to Stay in Vienna

I highly recommend the Park Hyatt Vienna, which I reviewed earlier this year; it's about a 15 minute walk to the Rathaus, and TravelSort Clients enjoy Hyatt Prive benefits:

  • Welcome amenity
  • Priority for a 1 category upgrade (room to room or suite to suite): confirmed at booking if not a high demand period
  • Complimentary full breakfast at The Bank Brasserie for up to 2 in-room guests
  • $100 hotel credit, once during the stay.
  • Priority for connecting room availability and early check-in / late check-out

Another option for chocolate and history lovers is Hotel Sacher Wien, opened by the son of the creator of the legendary Sacher Torte. Virtuoso benefits include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full Buffet Breakfast daily, for up to two in-room guests, served in the Marble Hall
  • One 30 min “Time-to-Chocolate” experience per room at the Sacher Boutique Spa (subject to availability and advanced appointment required)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • When booking both Sacher Hotels during the same trip: Complimentary one-way train tickets for up to two guests per room from/to Salzburg to/from Vienna

2. Berlin: WeihnachtsZauber

Dates: November 25 – December 31, 2019. Daily 11am-10pm, except December 24 until 6pm, December 31 until 1am of Jan. 1. EUR 1 admission per person, waived for children under 12 and for Monday-Friday 11am-2pm except 12/24, 12/25, 12/26 and 12/31/

While the WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt is only in its 17th year, it attracts over 50,000 visitors to its picturesque setting by the Deutsher Dom and Franzosischer Dom cathedrals and the Konzerthaus concert hall. Weekends, December 24-26 and December 31 feature choral singing, orchestras, ballets and other performances on the stage. And for those needing to warm up with something more substantial, there are heated tents with Berlin, Bavarian, Austrian, and other dishes.

Where to Stay in Berlin

The perfect place to stay in Berlin is the Hotel de Rome, a Rocco Forte hotel, which is a quick 5 minute walk from the WaihnachtsZauber Christmas Market. Sir Rocco Forte's Knights benefits include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Special welcome amenity (Sir Rocco Forte's Knights preferred partner benefit)
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • 85 EUR Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • 15% off spa services (Sir Rocco Forte's Knights preferred partner benefit)
Berlin WaihnachtsZauber Christmas Market

3. Strasbourg, France: Marché de Noël de Strasbourg

Dates: November 22 – December 30, except December 25. Hours are generally 11am-8pm daily, except 12/24 until 6pm, on Fridays until 9pm, and on Saturdays until 10pm. From December 26 to December 30, only the stalls on Place de la Cathédrale, Place du Château, Place de la Grande Boucherie, Place du Marché-aux-poissons, rue du Palais Rohan and outside of the Palais Rohan will be open.

Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed “Capital of Christmas,” and its famous Marché de Noël is a significant part of this heritage, dating back to the first markets in 1570. Today, Strasbourg's Marché de Noël, anchored by the beautifully adorned Christmas Tree in the Place Kléber, celebrates the Alsace region’s French and German ties with music, traditional delicacies such as fragrant gingerbread-like bredele cake and glühwein (mulled wine), handmade toys, ornaments, and other gifts from the market’s 300 stalls.

Where to Stay in Strasbourg

Just a 2 minute walk away is the Hotel Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile. Sofitel STEP Program benefits for TravelSort Clients include:

  • Breakfast for 2 daily
  • Upgrade based on availability upon arrival
  • Early check-in & Late check-out – based on availability
  • Welcome amenities
  • Complimentary High Speed Internet
Marché de Noël de Strasbourg / Strasbourg Christmas Market

4. Prague: Old Town Square Christmas Market

Dates: November 30, 2019 – January 6, 2020

It may be difficult for non-Czech speakers to pronounce, but Vánoční trhy refers to the Christmas markets, popular among locals and visitors alike. At Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square), you'll find a majestic Christmas Tree and by it, a nativity scene. There's also a stable where children can pet sheep, goats, and a donkey.

Enjoy carols and folk dance performances by choirs and groups from all over the Czech Republic.

To warm up, there's certainly mulled wine and honey wine, but also a variety of Czech beers. For a snack, try barbecued sausages, Hungarian langoš (fried bread, often topped with cheese), crepes, or gingerbread.

Where to Stay in Prague

A quick 7 minute walk from Old Town Square is my top recommendation, the Four Seasons Prague. Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits include:

  • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
  • Choice of $100 Spa credit (not applicable to products) or $100 food and beverage credit once during stay
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites, villas, and private residences)
  • Complimentary basic Internet in all guest rooms; complimentary premium Internet in all suites
  • Guaranteed late check-out at 4pm
Prague Christmas Market

Which is your favorite European Christmas Market?

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